Over the past week, the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame released their in-season Top 10 lists for their end of year positional awards in women’s college basketball. Marquette is one of 14 schools to have multiple players on the five top 10 lists, as Jordan King made the list for the Cheryl Miller Award, and Liza Karlen is listed for the Katrina McClain Award.
King has scored in double-figures in 17-of-19 games this season and is the active career scoring leader in the BIG EAST with 1,670 points. The senior is averaging 14.5 points and 3.8 assists per game.
The Rockton, Illinois native has started in all 143 career games played, third all-time at MU, and is ninth-all-time on the career scoring list.
Karlen averages 17.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game and has collected three BIG EAST Player of the Week honors this season. The senior became the 34th 1,000-point scorer in program history with her fifth point at Seton Hall on Jan. 9, and finished with a career-high 30 points.
The St. Paul, Minnesota native is the only BIG EAST player to be named AP Player of the Week this season after averaging 24.5 points, 8.0 rebounds in wins over then-No. 20 Creighton and App State in December.
Karlen’s inclusion in the top 10 is a little bit more impressive than King’s, but that’s only because King was on the preseason watch list for the Miller Award. It’s easier to be in the top 10 when you were part of the top 20 two months ago, as opposed to playing your way into the top 10 and knocking someone out of your way.
With that said, I’m still not clear why King’s a candidate for the Miller Award, which is given out to the player declared to be the best small forward in the country. Based on the lineup that Marquette has rolled out this season, King’s playing shooting guard next to Rose Nkumu at point and Kenzie Hare at what would traditionally be called the small forward position. To a certain extent, King and Nkumu are interchangeable on the court, as evidenced by the fact that King is still averaging 3.8 assists per game while playing off the ball most of the time.
Karlen is up for the McClain Award, which goes to the best power forward in the country. I don’t have a quibble with that, especially with Karlen averaging 1.7 long range attempts per game this season and knocking down 41% of them. If anything, she should shoot that more.
By the way: There is a voting component to the awards. You can visit hoophallawards.com and vote once per day for King and Karlen, and the results of the fan vote will count as one committee vote for the final five candidates in March.